Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day we feature a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

December 25, 1995

Earth Rise
Credit: NASA, Apollo 8 Crew

Explanation: During the 1968 Christmas season Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders flew the Apollo 8 command module From the Earth to the Moon and back (launched Dec. 21, achieved 10 lunar orbits, landed Dec. 27). The Apollo 8 mission's impressive list of firsts includes; the first manned flight using the Saturn V rocket, the first humans to journey to the Earth's Moon, and the first to photograph the Earth from deep space. The famous picture above, showing the Earth rising above the Moon's limb as seen from lunar orbit, was a marvelous gift to the world. This was astronaut James Lovell's third mission. His last flight would be as commander of Apollo 13.

Tomorrow's picture: Accretion Disk Binary System

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (GMU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
NASA Technical Rep.: Sherri Calvo. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC